One of the most frightening aspects of any court case, for many people, is having to testify in court. While not all divorces will go all the way to a full trial, it is a real possibility. Even if the case settles before trial, you may have to testify at an early evidentiary hearing.
Not Like Television
The scene most people imagine when thinking about court is what they see on television. However, in real life, testifying in court is much less dramatic and takes a lot more time. There will be no jury in a family law case. The lawyers will not wander around the courtroom making speeches.
Depending on the circumstances, your testimony may take more than an hour to get through. In complex cases you may testify for the better part of an entire day. Rarely will an entire case turn on just a single answer you give. Instead, the judge will make a decision based upon all of your testimony and the testimony of all the other witnesses.
Many times, weeks or months before you testify in court, you will have given a sworn deposition. One of the purposes of a deposition is to gather evidence for trial. Another purpose is to have a record of your answers to compare to the testimony you give at trial.
When you are called on to testify you will be sworn in. Depending in the judge and the circumstances, you will be seated in the witness stand, or at the table by your lawyer in front of the judge. Your lawyer will ask you questions—this is called direct examination. A direct examination is a time for you to tell your story to the judge. However, you can only do so through the questions your lawyer asks you. The judge can also ask questions at any point in the process.
After your lawyer finishes questioning you, the lawyer for the other side will ask you questions. This is called cross-examination. The tone will be much different. The lawyer will probably use leading questions. If you answer differently than you did during your deposition, the lawyer may quote from your deposition and ask you to explain why you have changed your answer.
After the other side has finished questioning you, your lawyer gets a chance to ask more questions about issues raised during cross-examination. This is called redirect. After the redirect the other side gets to recross. This process can continue for some time depending on the case. Finally, after the lawyers and the judge are out of questions, you will be done testifying.
Consult With a Skilled Illinois Divorce Lawyer
The divorce process can be confusing and intimidating. Therefore, if you are considering divorce, you need to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney right away. Please call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation. Make sure you understand the truth about divorce.